The Roadtrip

IMG_0079Marriage no doubt has its ups and downs. There are times of trial and times of bliss. Regrettably, the good episodes are often overshadowed by the bad. It is not until a union is faced with a crisis that those two people can truly appreciate how strong they are as a team.

It was two months until we would be leaving for Mexico with the kids for a family vacation. Very brave of us, taking a one and three year old, I know! We would have lots of help on the plane and at the resort though, as both Jamie and my parents were coming as well. If only we had, had that support on this day; The day we decided to take a road trip to Calgary, 2 measly hours away, to get our passports.

Of course I was overly optimistic about the day, I always am about everything! Jamie is the logical one, the one who calculates the negatives and easily foresees trouble. I wake him up with a start, “Hunny! It’s our road trip day!.” He responds in a groggy, half retort sort of way, “I’m not sure if we should go today Lindsay, I just have a bad feeling about it.” This is when I should have acted in kind, and say “Ok, I will take your opinion and value it, oh husband of mine.” What was said in actuality, “WHAT! We never do ANYTHING Jamie! God, you make me so mad, why do you even suggest this stuff if you hate going ANYWHERE!!!” I then lifted myself from the post where I had been hovering over my half sleeping spouse and stormed out of the room with a face that could spite a lemon. Only moments later, Jamie came to me in the kitchen where I was grasping a coffee in one hand and a baby in the other, he wrapped his arms around me and agreed that it was silly of him to be thinking in such a downbeat way. No less than 20 minutes later we were packing up and on our way out the door.

The drive was going well, until we saw the cherry lights flash behind us. I quickly looked at the speedometer and saw we were hitting the 140 km/hr mark. Great, this is going to be a lovely ticket to get. No use getting upset, it was our own fault for speeding, no real damage done. We continue on, once we enter the city this is when the real trouble started. Sophie, who was still nursing at the time, began to get grumpy so I clambered on back to the rear seat to feed her. It was somewhere between this event and the next set of lights, that we took a wrong turn, and decided to get completely lost. They say the definition of insanity is trying to do the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Well in that case, just call me and my husband absolute nut jobs because that was our game plan at the time. “Well what was the name of the street we need to be on?” “Was it 42nd?” “I don’t know, you were the one who Google mapped it!” “Google maps are bullshit!” Things were getting heated so it seemed perfectly rational to turn blindly down random roads, and merely hope for the best.  Surely, our internal GPS would kick in right? Wrong. Finally after an hour of driving in the wrong direction, we stopped at a very questionable truck stop to ask for directions.

Back on the road, and heading on the appropriate route, and again I am feeling positive. I glance at my husband who is driving, and have a fleeting thought of the fit I threw only a few hours ago in regards to this brilliant road trip, the guilt was palpable. But it quickly passed.

Haaza! We make it to our intended location.  This was the only event of the day, that  was actually on our side. In and out in twenty minutes flat. Things are starting to look up for the ol’ Brown family, in the road trip department. I skip out of that building with a sparkle in my eye and thoughts of having a picnic in the park. We have time, no need to rush away from the city, who knows when we will be back again.

Ok, kids in their seats, key in the ignition let’s go! Nothing. Ok let’s try this again, turn over the key, pump the gas…waiting…Nope. Not even the slightest engine sound. Our current situation: an entirely  dead battery, parked on a slight decline, facing a brick wall, 2 small children in the back seat, and no booster cables. The guilt is encompassing me once more. Jamie approaches an older gentleman in a beaten down farm truck, this guy has got to have some cables. The old man unrolls his passenger window about an inch when Jamie approaches his vehicle. My husband props his mouth towards the open crack in the window and tells the man our dilemma. The old geezer contemplates our situation for a moment, then unrolls his window another 3 inches, reaches behind his bench seat pulls out some booster cables and threads them threw the 4 inch opening from his protective haven. Thank-you my good man. Now we face the quandary of how to actually get the van boosted. The recipients of  the means of transport on either side of us have not made themselves known, this primeval chap watching us from his truck is clearly not going to assist, and the kids are starting to become anxious. Guilt, Guilt, Guilt! We pop it in neutral, it’s a long shot, but we have no other choice at this point. I get into the driver’s seat and Jamie begins pushing. Is it wrong that all I can worry about is how god damn hungry I am right now? I just want to have a friggen picnic in the park, is that so much to ask? It is slow going at first, then a couple young guys see what is happening and rush over, all the meanwhile our elderly friend sits idly by watching, windows rolled up tight, doors locked.  The guys get the van in position to be boosted. And done. Finally we are rolling once more. I would like to say I am thankful to be on the road again, but at this point I am not sure if I should speak so soon.

Traveling down the Deerfoot Highway, almost at the outskirts of the city. Once we get out of this place our luck will turn around. We will stop in one of the surrounding small towns for some grub…No more picnic, I think that’s become pretty bloody clear.  It happened in a slow motion sort of way, and all I can say is my husband may not be a wiz with directions but he saved our life that day. There was a good amount of loose gravel on the highway as there had been some construction in that area. The vehicle in front of us loses control, flies to the other side of the double lane highway hits a meridian, rebounds  back and slams directly into a lamp post. Throughout this whole time Jamie manages to keep the kids and I out of the catastrophic ordeal. We pull  over, call 911, tell them what we saw, then get dismissed to leave the scene.

Jamie and I sit in total silence, for the lasting hour and a half drive home. The guilt of my temper-tantrum over this trip has absorbed me to the core, and all I can play over and over again in my mind is my family’s close call. We pull up to the house, I begin to get the kids stuff together when Jamie grabs my hand, pulls me close, gives me a kiss and says, “Regardless of what happened today, we are all safe, and got to spend the whole day together. I love you Lindsay Rae.”

An easy 4 hour trip had transformed into 7 hours of plain unpleasantness in an ill-fated turn of events. I still don’t regret this day though, Jamie and I have learned a lot from these desperate incidents that pave the way into tomorrow. We continue to learn from the ‘bad days’ and they remind us to enjoy to the fullest the moments of delight and passivity.

Jamie, you are the rock that grounds me when I begin to float away and the hand that calms me when everything seems amiss. I may not show it every day but I appreciate these qualities of yours more than you will ever know.

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